By Rabbi Moshe Goodman, Kollel Ohr Shlomo, Hebron בס”ד
Discovering the Holy Presence in The Holy Land
I Shall Call the Name of Hashem
One of the central themes of both Rosh HaShana and parshat Haazinu ,which is always read in conjuction with Rosh HaShana-Yom Kippur, is expressing God’s honor and greatness as King and Master over all events, such as described in Haazinu. The Song of Haazinu begins with the call to ‘give greatness to our God’ when ‘calling in the Name of God’. Our Sages interpret this verse to mean that before one studies Torah, i.e calling in the Name of God – for the entire Torah is the ‘Name of God’, one must first bless God – ‘give greatness to our God’ for the gift of the Torah. A similar interpretation of this verse is that when studies Torah one should have in mind the greatness of the endeavor one is undertaking and also the greatness of the Godly soul given to him to take on this undertaking. Indeed, so is said in the blessing upon Torah study: ‘Blessed are You HaShem… Who has chosen us from all the nations and has given us His Torah, etc.’
According to this method, one of the more primary ways of service of HaShem and self-perfection lies with illuminating one’s spirit with the inherent greatness of one’s soul. Once this is done, one’s evil inclination does not take hold, for it is obliterated through the positive light and energy of one’s soul. This description fits perfectly with the spiritual work of Rosh HaShana, which is described as the day we depict HaShem as ‘our Light’ in the psalm ‘Ledavid HaShem Ori’. On Rosh HaShana we focus on the greatness of God and the greatness of man, who was created on this very day by God. We focus on the Godly soul blown into man from God, and we essentially continue ‘this breath’ when we blow into the shofar. This breath is continued through the sound of the Shofar, calling all to return to the source of ‘this breath’, to realize and be positively ‘illuminated’ by the ‘Godly breath and soul’ permeating within us. On the Yovel year the shofar is blown also on Yom Kippur.
During Yovel the ‘Godly breath and soul’ is not only an illumination” but actually takes a real and concrete hold on reality. On Yovel year the fact that “God owns the entire earth” is taken into reality when lands are given/”freed” in favor of their previous owners and also servants are freed. This is also befitting the message of Yom Kippur when we take the message “written” in our souls on Rosh Hashana in a more abstract sense, and bring it into reality in “sealing” our ways in a more concrete way through probing the details of our practices and ways and elevating/”freeing” them in the process of repentance so dominant on this day. Although we do not have Yovel today (may it be renewed speedily, amen), we do have the closely related Shemita, albeit Rabbinic according to most opinions. On a Biblical level Shmitah is dependent on Yovel, which is dependent on the majority of worldwide Jewry living in the Land of Israel and also divided according to tribal territories. Again referring to our reference above in regard to the greatness of God through the Torah, we should remember also that the Torah was given with the sound of the shofar. Our Sages say that “önly one who is occupied with Torah can truly be considered free.” Just like the Yovel, here again we see the connection of the shofar to freedom. The Shemita year as well can be seen as a rather lengthy time of freedom, on a national level, emancipating the People from agricultural work so they can be free to occupy themselves with the study of Torah and spiritual elevation, similar to the weekly Shabbat.
Hebron, Beacon of the Holy Land, illuminates us with these same messages as the Zohar teaches in a number of places: “At that time (the “end of days”) the three Patriarchs will adjoin with might, and Truah, Shvarim, Tkiah will be sounded, and with them the “the earth shall shake”, and this will be in the “end of days”, and all these miracles will be in the Land of Israel, for there is located Hebron where the Patriarchs are buried.”(Tikunei Zohar 13, 28b) Also, ‘Hebron refers to Torah, for one who occupies himself with Torah is called a haber – Torah scholar’ (Zohar Shlach).
‘My eye was hurting for a long period of time, so I started to ponder why this may be. I realized that I had not said the blessing on the gift of seeing ‘pokeach ivrim’ for a long period of time [as I had become not religious for some time], so I began to do so. Immediately when I began saying this blessing my eye was cured fully with no medical or clinical intervention.’ D.F